First Birthday Gift Ideas

Happy Monday y’all!!
I originally started typing up this post on Valentines Day, but wasn’t able to get it up in time…
So hopefully that explains why I’m sharing photos of Hayes with kisses all over him! haha



I’ve been getting so many messages asking to share some first birthday gift ideas so I figured I’d share them in a blog post so it’s super easy to just click and shop each item!
Hayes’s first birthday party is in just 5 days and I am SO excited!
Kyle and I actually aren’t getting Hayes a gift…because in all honesty, he has WAY too many toys already…and we know he’ll be getting tons of stuff from friends and family! BUT there are a few things that I know he’s getting and I just know he’s going to LOVE them! I’m going to share some toys that we already have that Hayes loves and some other toys that I think would make a GREAT first birthday gift! You can click directly on the photo of any item to shop it!

What do y’all think about this list?! If you have a toy or item that your baby loves send it my way and I’ll make sure to keep this list updated!!
Love y’all!

2019 – Goals & Resolutions

2018 was the best year of our lives.

In 2018 we became parents, the day Hayes was born will forever be the most memorable and magical day, I could still tell you every single little detail of that day as if it happened yesterday.
Bringing Hayes into this world was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and the most physical pain I have ever experienced, but I still wish I could relive it over and over again.

2018 was full of blessings, and love, and tears, and arguments, and laughter, and shock, and confusion, and questions, and happiness, and excitement, and changes, and GROWTH.
In 2018 Kyle and I grew so much together and we learned so much together.
Becoming parents is absolutely life changing, having a baby will rock your entire world.
You will experience a love that you’ve never known before, both for your new baby and for your significant other.
And you will experience a level of exhaustion that you’ve never known before, but don’t worry friends,
it’s worth it.

Now let’s talk resolutions…I have always been someone who loves to document things, even before iphones and social media were around I would always have a camera on me and I LOVED taking pictures of everyone and everything and capturing moments so that I’d always have a photo to look back on. That’s just who I am. That’s one of the main reasons I started my blog in college, I wanted to remember all of the little things, the simple days of when Kyle and I had just started dating and when he’d leave me little love notes in my apartment bathroom and of course the big moments like our engagement on the beach. The blogging world and social media have come a LONG way since I was just a college girl, and it’s so easy to get caught up in that world of perfectly edited and staged photos.

I have a lot of goals for 2019, but I’ll start with this one.
In 2019, this little blog of mine will be filled with a lot more daily life posts and imperfect photos. I will still share fashion and sales and deals for y’all but I want the main focus of my blog to be more lifestyle & family related. I’m hoping y’all will be able to relate more to these posts, BUT of course you’ll still be able to come on here and find a super affordable and cute outfit that you feel awesome in.
Basically, my goal in 2019 is for my blog to be the best of both worlds!

Kyle and I have moved a lot since we’ve been married, and we still aren’t in our forever home, but one BIG goal is to find a home church and go regularly. We haven’t been to church since Hayes was born and I’m so ashamed of that. I’ve had pretty bad postpartum anxiety and honestly,  the thought of just dropping Hayes off at the church nursery with “strangers” makes me sick to my stomach. BUT I’m determined to get past that this year, because WE need more Jesus. Another goal of mine is to let Hayes spend the night with one of our parents so Kyle and I can have some time together. I’m just such a control freak and worry wart but gosh we NEED some good ol quality time together. So prayers are very welcome because this goal will be VERY hard for me.

Kyle and I both do a lot of work from our phones, so we’re both guilty of being on our phones a lot when we should be spending time together or with Hayes. We both agreed to choose one night a week where we turn off our phones and the TV and just BE together and do some kind of activity as a family, I’m REALLY excited about this one and I hope it turns into something we do more than once a week.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am SUPER ADD. Like cannot focus on just one thing for the life of me. I’m always doing 5 things at once and my mind is always going crazy thinking about 82819 things. Like it takes me DAYS just to finish one blog post. The point of telling y’all this is because my
MAIN GOAL for 2019 is to be more present in whatever I’m doing. Whether it’s playing with Hayes, writing a blog post, responding to DM’s, having lunch with a friend, whatever it may be, I want to be FULLY present. This is another one that will be extremely hard for me but it’s something that will make my life so much happier and more fulfilled and honestly I think it will help me tremendously when it comes to getting things done.

I can’t end this post without talking about health & fitness because fitness has always been a huge part of my life… but then I became a mom and to be totally honest, working out took a backseat and I didn’t find it as important or necessary. Since I became a mom the way my body looks no longer makes or breaks who I am as a person. I used to be SO concerned about the way my body looked and always felt the need to be “bikini ready”. I’m happy to say that I have never been more content with my body. It looks totally different and I have extra skin and less muscle but y’all…there are SO many more important things in life than having a picture perfect body or obsessing over fixing the flaws on our bodies. I used to pick myself apart daily (whenever I looked freaking phenomenal *insert eye roll emoji*) but I just don’t have time for that anymore and I don’t want to waste my time doing that, because it’s silly, and I’m so much more than my physical appearance.
WITH ALL THAT BEING SAID, Please please don’t get me wrong. My goal this year is to start working out at least 3 times a week…I still want to be strong and healthy and of course I still care how I look and I want to be physically attractive for my husband and want to feel good about myself, I always feel best whenever I’m in shape and doing some kind of work out regularly. I guess I just felt the need to mention that stuff before because I’m honestly so proud of myself for not picking myself apart anymore and focusing on every little flaw.

Anyways, I really am SO excited about 2019…I asked all of you on instagram what was one thing you REALLY wanted to see from me this year and the overwhelming majority said MORE HAYES and ANOTHER BABY! haha
Kyle and I want a big family and most days Hayes makes me want 10 more babies, so we’ll see…
We’d love to have another baby in 2019.
But the Lord made it very clear when we were trying for baby #1 that it’s not up to us and it’s not going to happen when we want it too…it’s going to happen when the time is right and when God says so.

If you made it this far, thanks so much for reading!
I hope this post left you feeling a little inspired and I hope 2019 is the best year of your life.

Hayes’s First Christmas

Every year we get matching pajamas and this year we went with camo, Kyle was THRILLED.


I have never been more excited about Christmas than I was this year. It was our very first Christmas as a family of 3 and I could NOT wait to start our own little family traditions! I’m not going to lie though, I totally stressed myself out trying do all.of.the.things and come up with the most perfect traditions and finding the cutest most creative way to document them all…which is honestly ridiculous because Hayes is litarally 10 months old and won’t remember any of this and doesn’t even understand what’s going on…BUT I just wanted it to be perfect, which is understandable right?! Well, the good news is, it was perfect. And it was perfect in our own special way. I don’t think we did ONE of the traditions that I had in my head that I wanted to do, but WHO CARES.
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Kyle has a really big family so we typically spend a few days with his side. We spent the 22nd and 23rd over at his Nanas with the whole crew and it was pure chaos but SO much fun! All of his cousins were in town and we’re all SO close so it’s just a ton of fun every time we get together.

terrible picture but the best people – there will be {at least} 3 more babies this time next year!

The weather was so beautiful the days we were over there so we spent the majority of our time outside playing games and wearing the kiddos out and did a WHOLE lot of eating. So far Hayes is the ONLY boy on both sides…he has two girls cousins and will be getting two more girl cousins in the Spring!! Hoping and praying someone (or we) have a boy soon so he has a buddy to play with. Kyle’s family is mainly boys so it looks like the roles are reversing, funny how it always seems to do that!!

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So I fully intended on our Christmas Eve being filled with decorating Christmas cookies, driving around looking at Christmas lights, eating a special dinner together, and just doing all of the picture perfect things that families do on Christmas Eve. Well, none of those things happened…The majority of my Christmas Eve was spent running around Target by myself in a panic searching for last minute gifts (typical Monica), getting home to realize we have no food to eat, sending Kyle off to get fast food and him calling me 3 different times to tell me each place was closed. We ended up eating grilled cheese sandwiches and sipped on some eggnog, which was honestly phenomenal, so looks like grilled cheeses and eggnog just may be our new Christmas Eve family tradition!
We also let Hayes drive to his Uncle Bryan & Aunt Skyes house on Christmas Eve…10 months old and already behind the wheel, Lord help us!

just out searching for Santa Claus!

After we put Hayes down Kyle and I got to play “Santa” together for the first time and it was honestly THE BEST. I was so excited to set out all of Hayes’s new toys. When I was little we’d always wake up on Christmas morning and have some presents wrapped underneath the tree and those were from my parents and then the ones Santa brought would just be sitting out and ready to play with (because Santa is always in a hurry, duh)

Christmas morning was spent playing with all of his new toys!

Then we got ready and headed over to my parents house to celebrate with my side of the fam! Which is WAYYY smaller and more chill than Kyle’s side haha It’s usually just my parents, my sister and brother in law and us 3!

Hayes decided to pick his nose for the very first time during our family Christmas photo

It was a perfect day of opening presents, eating a TON of food, and relaxing together. We were desperate for a chill day after all of the Holiday festivities all week long.

Hayes’s first Christmas was definitely a success. Cannot wait for next year when he can really understand more and enjoy it!! So far he has been LOVINGGGG all of the gifts he got and plays with them every single day!

Introducing solids – tips from the mom that has no clue what she’s doing

Well friends, I know this post is long overdue and I’m so sorry to keep y’all waiting!
I’ve been spending a lot more time off of my phone and computer during the day because I want my time with Hayes to be special and with as little distractions as possible. Trying to keep up with a blog, making sure I am present & growing on social media, running an online store and being a dog mom + a mom to an almost 10 month old wild crawler is FREAKING HARD. Honestly, each of those things I listed is a full time job so trying to balance all 5 is pretty dang exhausting, I know SO many of you who do it and make it look like a piece of cake, so SHOUT OUT to all you supermom boss babes! I’m just over here trying to keep my dang head above water!!
I usually call it a successful day if I remember to brush my teeth before 3pm. Lord help me.

ANYWAYS…I’ve gotten tons and tons of questions on how I started introducing solids to Hayes and a lot of you requested a blog post. Not going to lie, I’ve totally been putting this post off – mainly because I’ve been winging it when it comes to feeding him and I feel like I am not a person that needs to be giving out “advice” on this topic when I really don’t even know what the heck I’m doing lol
BUT I think most of you know that when I do come on here (like what, once every two months now?) and share blog posts with y’all it’s not because I think my way is right, or that I have all of the answers, it’s because we’re all in this together and maybe just MAYBE my story of the day will help you feel more normal, or give you an idea, or maybe even just make you laugh, so today’s post is all about introducing solids – from the mama who has no clue what she’s doing.

Before I dive into this post, a lot of you have also asked if I’m still breastfeeding, yes I am! I just nurse Hayes on demand, and it’s been pretty consistent with every 3 hours or so still, but he nurses much quicker these days, well during the day at least, like literally under 5 minutes sometimes. He’s going through a “no bottle” phase right now, so that’s been fun. Oh and lately at night (the last 3-4 nights) he wants nothing but the boob…like from 5pm and on he is such a savage and it’s almost as if my nipples forsake me and go back to the new mom cracked raw and bleeding nips during those hours. They don’t actually bleed and they aren’t cracked BUT I’m just making it a point to say that he is tearing my boobs apart lately and if anyone else is dealing with this please let me know because holy smokes I’m about to just cut my nipples off and give them to him.

OKAY back to the main topic…I’m honestly really surprised at myself because with as much anxiety as I have in general, feeding Hayes solids has never been something that scares me – I know SO many of you have told me that you’re so scared of your baby choking and that’s why you’ve been hesitant to start introducing solids but for some reason that hasn’t been a big fear of mine. Which is shocking considering all of the other things that I’m fearful of, but ya, anyways…
Kyle and I started introducing solids a little before 6 months (pediatricians recommend starting at 6 months) We seriously could not wait to start giving Hayes real food and were SO excited to see his reactions to different tastes. When he was around 5 months we would just give him little tastes of things off of our fingers, nothing too crazy! We didn’t REALLY start giving him food until 6 or 7 months though. We did some traveling during that time and I didn’t want to mess with trying to introduce solids while traveling, especially if he ended up having a weird reaction to something! So once we were done traveling we decided to give it a go.

I honestly forgot what exactly we did first and all the steps we took. I think we tried baby oatmeal w/ breastmilk first, he hated it. Then we tried mashed up avocado, didn’t hate it but still wasn’t a fan, he did seem to like mashed up bananas! But got sick of them pretty quickly. But ya, basically we started out with the usual purees. I would boil veggies and then we’d mash them up into a puree and BOY did he hate them, all of them! It was funny at first, watching him make disgusted faces and of course the overly dramatic gagging was hysterical…I’m sure the majority of you have seen Hayes’s carrot video that didn’t but totally should’ve gone viral lol. Well after about a week  of trying purees and him wanting nothing to do with them I decided to say “screw it” and try something different. Whenever we were trying purees Hayes would actually try to chew them so part of me knew that he was ready for softer foods. So instead of mashing up bananas or avocados I just started cutting them up into super small chunks for him. And just like that, he started to LOVE food. Giving him small chunks of food instead of mashed or pureed food was a complete game changer. I started out with foods that had a really smooth texture so that if he didn’t chew them good they would still go down easily for him! So we didn’t do the traditional purees first like most people, but we also didn’t do baby led weaning…we kind of just did our own thing. I would cut up small chunks of food and feed him myself. Because if I was going to take the extra time to make him a special meal I wasn’t going to let it be all over the floor and I wanted him to actually get nutrients out of it lol BUT then finally around 7.5 months he started wanting to pick up the food and feed himself so I let him and it’s been great! I still feed him some things that are hard for his little fingers to pick up like avocado or bananas but for the most part he LOVES feeding himself.

Our pediatrician gave us this incredibly helpful chart that we keep on the fridge!

{you can download your own copy here}
I was shocked when some of my friends told me they had never seen this chart before, I just assumed everyone gets one!  Like I said, we keep it on the fridge and I look at it pretty regularly. We definitely give Hayes more than just what’s listed, and I’m sure we feed him more than the recommended tablespoon amounts or whatever, I’ve honestly never measured.

Once I realized that Hayes loved to actually chew his foods I started to get a lot more adventurous with foods I would give him. Instead of mashing up veggies I would cut them into small pieces, put a little oil on them and then put them in the oven for 20 minutes or so to soften them up a bit. Hayes LOVES meat. Turkey and chicken are his favorite, I just buy organic turkey lunch meat and tear it up or a rotisserie chicken and peel off pieces for him. Eggs are another one of his favorites. I’ve realized he loves something for about a week and then if I try to keep giving it to him he gets annoyed because he wants to change things up, which is totally understandable. I think noodles might be his absolute favorite thing, he never gets sick of those and could eat A TON. I’m kind of at the point where I don’t know what the heck to feed him lately. He’s starting to get bored with his usual meals so I need to change things up…I always find myself going to BrittLessers Instagram page when it comes to baby food ideas! She’s always feeding her dude the best stuff and shares awesome ideas and recipes!

Here’s an example of what a typical day looks like for us:
Wakes up at 7ish – Breastmilk
(he nurses about every 3 hours, every day is different though! Some days he’ll be too active to stop and nurse and others he’s super consistent and will do a full nursing session every 2-3 hours)
Breakfast – cheerios / eggs / fruit/veggie pouch / bagel / pancake / banana
Snack – Puffs / Teethers / Cheerios
Lunch – Turkey / chicken / veggies / pouch
sometimes he’ll have another snack before dinner
Dinner – Usually the same as lunch – we’re pretty boring over here – going to start trying to make his meals more fun and more of a variety

Hayes is NOT a fan of broccoli, he’ll eat peas and zucchini and squash (roasted in the oven), loves sweet potatoes! He likes small chunks of sweet potato though not mashed! He really gets most of his fruits & veggies from the Happy Baby Pouches, they have them by age which is great! Some days he’ll literally go through 4 and other days I can barely get him to finish one. I’m pretty sure you can get them anywhere, we typically grab them at either Kroger or Target!

Q&A:
1. How long did you wait between giving him solids/introducing him to a new solid? 
I’m pretty sure the rule says to wait at least 2-3 days before introducing a new food in case your baby has some sort of negative reaction to a food, that way you’ll know which food your baby is reacting too!…but we never followed that rule. I have been so chill about food it’s honestly kind of weird, because I totally am a paranoid helicopter mom. I should probably start being a little more cautious.

2. How long do you continue supplementing with breastmilk after starting solids?
Breastmilk or formula should be your babes primary source of nutrients until they’re 1! It’s totally up to baby and mama on how long you continue to breastfeed after that!

3. How did you get over fear of him choking?
I talked about this a little in the post but for some reason this hasn’t been a big problem for me or a big fear of mine. Maybe because Hayes has always been a good chewer??

4. How much solids is he eating per day and has his milk intake decreased?
Honestly, every day is SO different. Some days he can’t get enough solids and I feel like he’s just eating all day long, and other days I almost feel like I have to force feed him. His milk intake has definitely decreased since starting solids…but with that as well, every day is different. Some days he’ll nurse constantly every 2-3 hours and take both boobs and other days he’ll latch on one boob for 2 minutes and that will be all for that session.

5. How many times a day and days of the week did you start feeding solids?
I may be answering this wrong, because for some reason it feels like FOREVER ago that we started introducing solids…even though it’s literally only been 4-5 months. But I’m pretty sure once I started I’d try to give him solids 3 times a day every day, even if it was just a tiny bit. Some days he wasn’t interested and others he was!

6. What was your go to brand for rice cereal / oatmeal?
I only tried Gerber, but he wanted nothing to do with it – Hayes has got a weird thing with textures! lol

7. Do you like your hair chair?
Yes! It’s honestly super easy and convenient and ridiculously affordable. I’ve heard really great things about the Beaba high chair but it’s definitely pricey!

8. How and when did you introduce peanut butter?
This is one thing I AM fearful of! We haven’t introduced peanut butter yet. A friend told me that her pediatrician gave some to her baby while they were there just in case anything happened they were already in a safe place and literally right in front of the dr!  I’m going to ask ours about doing that at Hayes’s next appointment!

9. When did you introduce a sippy cup with water?
At Hayes’s 6 month appt our pediatrician told us that he could start drinking small amounts of water with every meal! It took him a little while to get the hang of it but now he LOVES his water. It also took some trial and error with sippy cups. Our favorite has been the Nuby sippy cup. Other ones tend to come out SOOOO slow.

10. Did your pediatrician suggest bottle first and then solids or the other way around?
My pediatrician actually told me to feed him solids first and then nurse afterwards…buttttttt I nurse him first. lol Clearly, not a rule follower.

I hope this answers most of y’alls questions!! SORRY it took me so long to finally get this post up!
Hope y’all have a great week!!

5 Rules to Follow to Make Sure You LOVE Your Fall Family Pictures


Photography by: LentillePhotography // Hair & Makeup by: bespokenbeauty //
Outfits borrowed from studio wardrobe

Family photos are something that have always meant EVERYTHING to me, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how important it is to INVEST in your family photos, that way you will love them now, and for years and years to come.
When Kyle and I got engaged I was ALL about going the cheap route…even when it came to photos.
And I can’t even begin to tell you how much I regret that now.
I look back at our wedding photos and I’m so unhappy with how they turned out and that’s 100% MY FAULT for not doing my research and for just choosing the cheapest option and thinking “well, they have an expensive camera surely they’ll turn out good!” But its not just about the camera equipment y’all…it’s about the photographer and connecting with them and feeling comfortable. If there’s one thing I URGE you to do…it’s to really INVEST in your family photos, because they will be around forever & you want to be proud of them…
So today I’m going over 5 different rules that I think are total game changers, if you follow these simple rules I promise that you really will end up L O V I N G your Fall family pictures!

#1. Finding the right photographer – INVESTING in the right photographer
This is HUGE. I know you probably have a family member that is starting a photography business that will do your photos for free…and I know you found this awesome photographer that’s CRAZY expensive and you’re going to book a 10 minute mini session because that’s all you can afford and SURELY if the photographer is that great you’ll get a shot.. Y’all, DO NOT do either of these things! I’m telling you, the most important thing to ensure you LOVE your family photos is to INVEST in a great photographer. Not just any photographer, but a photographer that will take their time, make you feel comfortable in front of the camera, a photographer that will make it easy for your family to just be silly and be themselves so that you get natural, unposed, REAL, beautiful shots. Oh and trust me, I’ve done mini sessions and they are STRESSFUL and dang near impossible with more than 1 person involved. Don’t add more stress to the situation by giving yourself a strict time limit.

#2. Hire someone to do your hair & makeup…
I don’t care if you yourself are a professional hair & makeup artist…the last thing you want to be doing is trying to get yourself ready and then wrangling up all your kids, only to have your baby yank your hair and mess it up before you get to your location and get applesauce spattered all over your outfit…I can’t tell you how RELAXING it was to be able to show up to Allison and Bridgettes studio looking like a train wreck, and then getting to sit and have my hair and makeup done professionally right before the shoot. Bridgette (bespokenbeauty) is hands down the best hair & makeup artist in Houston. I would travel hours and hours for her work. The two times she’s done my hair and makeup I have felt SO beautiful and confident (which is SO important when you’re about to take photos) Kyle prefers me with minimal makeup and Bridgette just has this amazing way of doing a full face of makeup on you but making you look SO natural. It says A LOT when your husband prefers you with no makeup and even he compliments your hair and makeup after it’s been done professionally. I just have to show y’all this pony Bridgette created…that is ALL my real hair!!! Trust me, it is no where near as thick as it looks…Bridgette is a magician and will make you feel like a million bucks, I’m going to share the two looks she’s done for me below so y’all can see how talented she is!!

Bridgette and Allison share a studio together but Bridgette does hair and makeup for all kinds of events!
Wedding/Bridal/Special events/Photography…you name it.
Also, I was being dead serious when I said I would travel hours and hours for her, if you’re getting married soon or have any event where you want to look your best OR are currently planning your family photos – I HIGHLY recommend Bridgette!
You can head straight to here Instagram to see her work {HERE} Or send her an email at bespokenbeautyinfo@gmail.com

Alright, onto rule #3…


#3 Stick With Neutrals/Muted colors
Yes, you may be a fashionista who is up to date on all of the latest trends and everyone is always asking where your outfits are from, BUT a family photoshoot is not the place to make a fashion statement or try out a new trend (in my opinion). No matter what season it is, neutrals are ALWAYS best. One of my favorite things about booking with Allison (LentillePhotography) is that she provides wardrobe for all of her clients (like REALLY cute clothes y’all), all 3 of our outfits are from her studio wardrobe…I had so many gorgeous options to choose from but ended up going with this beautiful Free People maxi because I completely fell in love with the color. Not only did I not have to worry/think/stress/come up with outfits for all 3 of us but I also didn’t have to pay for new outfits for all three of us! Y’all know how quickly outfits & accessories for a family can add up!

#4 Find a photographer that understands the importance of PRINTS &
offers high end products and not just a USB

There’s something so special about receiving actual prints of your photos after your session and having beautiful high quality images to frame around your home! Allison has carefully curated a line of heirloom products, and all of her clients choose digitals plus an album, or framed fine art prints. Seriously y’all, HOW MANY TIMES have you wanted “just the digitals”, with full intention of printing them, but never did? Family pictures should live on your walls, and not on a USB.

And lastly, Rule #5 Bribe your husband & children if necessary
I know y’all are probably laughing at this BUT men & children do not love photos as much as we do…if I give my husband a good pep talk & explain how important these photos mean to me before the photoshoots {& also promise him something he loves if he smiles and cooperates} he tends to be a much better sport! As far as kiddos, Hayes isn’t old enough to be bribed but we did bring a few of his fav toys and had my mom hold them up right behind our photographer! There was also a lot of peek a boo action going on behind the scenes lol

I’ve been dying to share the rest of these photos with y’all! I have never been SO happy with a photoshoot in my entire life.  I typically pick and pull myself apart in every photo – but thanks to Bridgette I felt SO confident and comfortable in front of the camera and Allison always makes the photoshoots so fun & easy!! If you’re in Houston or even the surrounding areas make sure you check out these two babes if you’re in the market for some family photos or just on the hunt for a good hair & makeup artist!





Allison is completely booked for 2018 but is taking on clients for 2019, She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, and family photography in the Houston area and is the sweetest human alive!!
Let me know if you end up booking with Allison or Bridgette and be sure to tell them I sent you!